Fah Thai Magazine July/August 2017

fahthaimag

OVERTURES

ARTS & CULTURAL MATTERS

Words: Sarita Urupongsa

The Combat

and the Glory

Photos courtesy of Tourism Authority of Thailand

For as long as can be

remembered, “Muay

Thai” or Thai Boxing

proudly belongs to the

cultural heritage of Thai

people. In the old days,

the grand size of the

Kingdom of Thailand

shared borders next to

numerous countries,

resulting in constant

territorial battles.

Almost every Thai man

then was trained in

using ancient weapons

such as a sabre, a wood

staff, sword, halberd or a

lance. Combine that with

the skills of Muay Thai,

whose combat tactics

require the use of all

limbs – both hands, feet,

elbows and knees and

invincibility can happen.

These days, Muay

Thai evolved from

ancient boxing styles

whose variations derived

through local expertise.

There’s Muay Ta Sao in

the North, Muay Korat in

the Northeast and Muay

Chaiya in the South, for

example. As time passed,

Muay Thai became a

sport and competition

with an entertainment

purpose. Classification

is indicated by a boxer’s

weight, which is similar

to international boxing

standards.

The main highlight

before a Muay Thai

match begins with

the unique beauty of

“Wai Khru” a ritual

performed as a means

to show respect to the

teaching masters. Both

competing boxers would

prostrate 3 times to show

their gratitude towards

their parents, masters

and sacred beings.

While performing the

ritual, the boxers would

wear a “Mongkol” or a

headband made of holy

threads. Wearing the

Mongkol is considered

a sacred act as masters

performed their own

blessing ceremony

for the headband’s

auspiciousness.

The combat moves

and self-protection

prowess of Muay Thai

has fascinated many

people as it reflects an

identity that’s one of

a kind, whose punches

and moves differ from

that of international

boxing. Muay Thai is

unique not only for its

use of fists, but also of

feet, knees and elbows.

Furthermore, the style

comes with many

tactical moves such as

a spiral punch and knee

strike – combat moves

which have caught

keen interest around

the world.

As the national

sport rose to global

proportions, the Thai

government introduced

the “Thai Fight”

competition, to search

for the King of Muay

Thai in 2010. The project

aimed at bringing

international recognition

to the importance of

Muay Thai and Thailand’s

role as the home of

this combat skill. A

combination of Muay

Thai and entertainment

showcases the Thai

Fight, an international

sports event attracting

Thai and foreign boxers

as well as gaining an

audience that continues

to grow. The competition

boasts authentic Muay

Thai skills and opens

up the opportunity

for fighters from

everywhere in the world

to participate in this

traditional combat event.

Recognising

the value of Muay

Thai as a sport in

the international

community, the United

Nations signed the MOA

in cooperation with the

World Muaythai Council

and the International

Federation of Muaythai

Amateur. Muay Thai is

now on its way to be

included as one of the

sports in the

Olympic Games.

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